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i'm david gregory and this is "press pass", a special conversation coming from lower manhattan and i'm with the legendary robert deniro, we're looking over the 9/11 memorial. one world trade center, known as freedom tower, this is an active construction site why it's so loud. first of all, it's great to have you and great to see you. >> thank you. >> i was struck this week by the milestone of this tower, that it became the tallest building in manhattan. >> yeah. >> as they are building it into the fog today, it's now taller
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than the empire state building. what did that mean to you as such an ambassador of downtown that that milestone was reached? >> it's funny because when i -- when it happened, 9/11, i thought, well, we just have to rebuild the buildings exactly the way they were. and then of course things went through so many changes and so many moving parts obviously. so when it's finally this, i say, well, it actually looks great. it looks great. and i'm impressed that they -- i think they build a floor a week, what i thought i saw on the news. >> i saw on the news this week harry smith on "nightly news" interviewing one of the ironworkers on the higher floors and said we're ironworkers not used to showing emotions but it's hard not to feel emotional about this building. >> of course. of course. it's not much -- to say.
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no matter what, i had no relatives or friends who were here that day. so the meaning as strong as it is for me, i can't almost -- i cannot imagine how it could be for them. >> one of your great motivations for the tribeca film festival was to say that downtown needed someone who was going to stand up after 9/11 and say, we've got to get this part of this great city back on its feet. talk about what motivated that for you? >> well, we -- it wasn't -- we didn't know what to do. we had been talking about doing a film festival before just sort of talking then not really that seriously about it. once this happened and we were doing a thing going to a lot of restaurants -- this was jane rosen thal and her husband's
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idea to go to restaurants downtown, little italy, anywhere south of houseton street and just drum up business. we would go around in buses and just go to all of these restaurants and try to get people to go. i think it got some attention, good attention and got things stirred up. that was what we first did. then the festival idea came up on a more serious level. but it had -- we had to do it quickly and so i'm amazed that we did do it. and jane got everyone together, all of the festival people and all of the volunteers and created it, started it. >> the fact that you've expanded it to doha to have that extra effect of show casing arab film makers as well.
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why did that extra branch of the festival become important? >> we had an opportunity to do that with the people from quaut ar so we went along with it and thought this is something we should do. and it was that simple. >> the president was in afghanistan this week. and as he was addressing the american people, he talked on the one year anniversary of osama bin laden being killed, that the war in afghanistan is being brought to an end and that sun light will bounce off of newly built towers in lower manhattan. as somebody who has lived here, lived through 9/11, do you feel that page turning? >> of course. i mean, these one day will be completed. is this will all be completed
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and we will move on, but we must never forget. that's it. you know, i mean, i always think -- i think mostly about the people who lost someone here and not only lost them but never found them ever. so that's devastating. >> do you -- i should ask you, what's your reaction as you look out and see the scale of the footprints of the north and south tower as living monuments and then the new growth is next to it. but doesn't overtake it. >> no, i think it's appropriate and right. i know there was a lot of talk at one time in the beginning of where to put buildings, what to do. and the right thing as far as i see the way i see is that those two grave sites, memorials are where they obviously should be
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and it's -- that's it. >> it seems appropriate. >> that's it, period. >> we're going to take a break and come back with robert deniro and we'll talk politics as well after this. as a police chief, i have an opportunity to affect what happens in a major city. if you want to make a difference, you have to have the right education. university of phoenix opened the door. my name is james craig, i am committed to making a difference, and i am a phoenix. visit to find our 5 locations in your area a powerful connection. with this droid razr by motorola on verizon 4g lte stay in touch with your loved ones on skype. plus, enjoy verizon's 4g lte network in more places. the droid razr you want, one powerful connection on america's largest 4g lte network. that's real value.
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we're back on a special press pass from lower manhattan and the site of the freedom
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tower going up. and this week became the tallest building in manhattan as they are working towards the completion date of construction. i'm back. so much is in a political context because of the campaign, whether it's osama bin laden or the war in afghanistan. you're somebody who cares a lot about politics but hasn't been involved until 2008 when you talked about your inspiration and support for president obama. are you as inspired and satisfied with what he's done as president as he stands for re-election. >> you know, it's very easy to criticize people. i think he's done a good job. he's done other things that maybe he should have been stronger about. people will complain but it's not easy to be president of the united states. and he -- it was pointed out in the new york times in the last sunday weekend rereview about all of the things he did as far
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as bin laden and other things that he stepped up being a liberal president supposedly. that were effective. not always -- you know, there's always the negative side of that but he took the chance to do it and he did it. and ultimately with bin laden. whatever that -- that's -- it's not a guy that goes around -- he's not a dmon stra tif type person. i give him credit and i know he'll do better in the next four years when he doesn't have to worry if he'll be elected or not. >> do you have much faith in washington, how washington operates? >> all of the shen an gans going on is upsetting. they might not say it or say i want to get on with my life and
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do what i have to do. at least give us faith in your behavior and don't make prepost rouse statements and don't get into this posturing and silliness. try to be -- try to move forward and help the president even though you're from the other party. try to stop criticizing so much. try to move it forward. everybody sees it as just a game. it's about really doing something. >> let me take a final minute to ask you about your work. at this point, what motivates you. what work would you like to do as an actor that you haven't done yet? >> well, i have a couple of ideas of things but i like to direct as an actor just finding -- finding a part that is -- that a great part, whatever. the thing is that i used to try
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to think of things that i could develop over the years so they would be -- if you work on them for so many years and i've done that for some things and that's where you can come up with something really special. as opposed to being an actor for hire, creating every project i do so they come from me or people i work with that will say, i might start them now but ten years from now they are ready to go. >> i have a question that you may not answer, may not be able or willing but i'm going to try because meryl streep tells this wonderful story of working with you and falling in love and how you tried on dozens of those members only type jackets to get into that character and she was talking about how transformation happens for an actor getting into a role. how would you describe what goes on for you, what has to go on for you for you to become whoever you're going to be, whatever the role is? >> well, it's different in each
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case, with some parts it's more physical. i generally like to start with a physical thing even though that could mean no physical movement whatsoever. the clothes, how you feel, how you see yourself, what it connects -- when you put something on or use a prop or something, you connect it to something in your life that you might not remember consciously. it evokes something in you. even a behavior you might have noticed but it just triggered something. it caught your attention. then it comes out, say this and now i can do this. you might not even know why you're doing it. that to me is the fun of it too. >> do any of your characters still live in you and come out unexpectedly. >> every character is a part -- i use whatever part of me is for that character, you use

Meet the Presss Press Pass
NBC May 6, 2012 11:30am-11:45am EDT

News News/Business. David Gregory. An extra conversation about what's driving Washington and the nation.

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on 5/6/2012